Replacing windows in conservation areas can be daunting. We have put together some information to help you along your way.
What is a conservation area?
There are over 150 conservation areas within Lincolnshire.
A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest. They exist to preserve the character or appearance of an area. What makes them special is judged against local and regional criteria. Conservation areas come with very strict planning laws. The Local Authority is responsible for controlling them. The Local Authority will submit any planning application for a home within a conservation area to additional scrutiny. This is to establish whether the nature of the proposed development at the very least complements the area’s special qualities. Ideally though, it should enhance it.
What do you need to know about replacing windows in conservation areas?
You must make sure that its appearance remains consistent, if your home is located within a conservation area. At the bottom of this article we have listed the District Councils within Lincolnshire, so you can check whether you are located within a conservation area. When replacing windows in conservation areas you must do so with immense care. You should begin by getting in contact with your Local Planning Authority and Building Control Service to advise them of your plans. Many Local Authorities have a consultation process, where you can obtain advice for free or for a small fee.
Your Local Authority may have enforced an Article 4 direction. This will require you to make a planning application for any replacement windows. Windows are normally classed as a “permitted development”. But Article 4 is put in place to protect conservation areas from work that threatens their character. Sometimes it can take several months to obtain Planning Permission for the changes you require, so bear this in mind when you start the process and plan in advance. Be aware that Local Authorities can often reject the use of standard uPVC windows in conservation areas. They are considered to be an unsuitable solution as they do not maintain the aesthetics of the property and/or area.
Can you fit uPVC windows in conservation areas?
You must consider the decision carefully, if your home still has original timber windows which need to be replaced. Windows are an important design feature of a building, and making the wrong choice can lead to “unsympathetic” replacements. You may find your Local Authority simply will not allow this. Timber windows have traditionally been the material of choice because of their looks and character. Thankfully though, it is now possible to fit modern, energy efficient uPVC windows in a conservation area. Although you may have to jump through a lot of hoops with your Local Authority and obtain Planning Permission in order to do so.
What types of windows are suitable for conservation areas?
If you want to fit uPVC windows in a conservation area, then it is important to ensure that the design of the new windows does not differ considerably from the originals. Fortunately, it is now possible to achieve the look and charm of timber windows with a modern uPVC substitute. Therefore, maintaining the character of the property, whilst also enjoying the energy efficiency and low maintenance (there is no need to paint them every few years) benefits of uPVC. Local Authorities are willing to accept Residence 9 and Flush Sash windows for conservation areas and homes with an Article 4 direction. Article 4 sets out the dimensions and detailing of how the replacement windows should look. However. it does not specify the type of material they are made from. Residence 9 and Flush Sash windows meet these requirements by matching the drawings found in the Article 4 directions.
These windows offer a high-end timber look, designed to replicate traditional flush sash hardwood windows. Their authentic look even carries through to the traditional hardware options that are available with heritage handle options. Although these conservation grade uPVC windows are very rarely rejected by planning officials, you will still need to gain approval from your Local Authority by going through the Planning Process and gaining permission.
How do you gain planning permission for uPVC windows in conservation areas?
Before replacing any windows in your home, it is important that you get in touch with the local Planning Authority and Building Control at your District Council.
Firstly advise them of all of your plans, and find out if they have enforced an Article 4 direction. If they have then you will need to apply for permission.
Plan head, as permissions can take a while to obtain, especially if they require you to supply additional information about the windows in order to consider your application. Be patient, but do not start any work until you have obtained the planning permission or building consent in writing from the Local Authority.
If you need to make a planning application, this is straight forward and you can do it online through the Planning Portal. In most cases, your Local Authority will approve plans to replace windows in conservation areas so long as the new window is more energy efficient and is in keeping with the chracter of the home or area.
Conservation areas do not have to prove problematic. With careful planning and consideration you can replace your timber windows with uPVC windows in conservation areas.
We have years of experience with fitting windows in conservation areas, so if you have any further questions please book an appointment with one of our designers for a consultation tailored to your requirements, or call us on 01522 512020 for professional advice.
Useful Local Authority Links
Boston Borough has 12 Conservation Areas.
East Lindsey has 17 Conservation Areas.
Lincoln City has 11 Conservation Areas.
North Kesteven has 34 Conservation Areas.
North Lincolnshire has 17 Conservation Areas.
South Holland has 13 Conservation Areas.
South Kesteven has 48 Conservation Areas.
West Lindsey has 25 Conservation Areas.